21 Types of Manufacturing Job Skills To Develop

By Indeed Editorial Team

March 25, 2021

Working in manufacturing provides a variety of opportunities. Advancements in the industry require manufacturing job seekers to develop a broad skill set to stand apart from other candidates. In this article, we discuss what manufacturing job skills are, examples of manufacturing skills, how to improve your skills, how you may use your skills in the workplace and how to showcase your skills when applying for jobs.

What are manufacturing job skills?

Manufacturing job skills are the range of soft and technical or hard skills required for manufacturing professionals to use to be successful. The manufacturing industry continues to evolve, transitioning from manual assembly lines or practices to more technology-driven automated processes. It's important for professionals to blend engineering skills, traditional manufacturing skills and soft skills to keep up with this transition.

Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

Examples of manufacturing skills

The transition from traditional manufacturing to technology-driven practices changed what hiring managers seek in candidates. It's important for candidates to have a combination of an understanding of traditional manufacturing processes and modern skills related to technology. It's also important for candidates to have desirable soft skills.

Here are some examples of manufacturing job skills hiring managers look for in candidates:

Digital fluency

Digital fluency relates to the ability to understand digital tools and use them to create something new. It's important for manufacturing professionals to be comfortable with a variety of digital systems, digital technologies, data and AI systems. You may use your computer and technology skills to help a company improve their software, hardware and digital networks with manufacturing-related digital tools.

Big data analytics

Big data analytics refers to the ability to organize, interpret and develop data. As many manufacturers continue to collect more data, this may involve working with large data sets and completing basic machine learning and statistical analysis. Also, experience as a data scientist may help you distinguish yourself from other candidates.

Coding

Many manufacturers seek candidates with the ability to write and understand code. Coding and software development experience may help companies with their transition into more digital methods. Manufacturing companies often specifically seek candidates with experience with things like MES, PLCs and other manufacturing-specific devices and machines.

Programming

Many manufacturing companies look for candidates with experience programming manufacturing-specific devices and machines. Hiring managers may look for candidates they believe can learn and operate various types of complex engineering software. They often look for those with experience working with CAD software, CAM software and CNC programs.

Teamwork

Teamwork skills help you work well with others to achieve success. Working in manufacturing may require you to work with others to troubleshoot issues and solve complex problems. It's also important to share and work towards common goals.

Read more: Teamwork Skills: Definition and Examples

Robotics

Robotics skills are important for both traditional manufacturing and advancements in the industry. It's important for you to be able to program and repair robotic systems. Robotics skills may also require you to program systems for automated practices, monitor system performance and provide feedback to optimize the systems to enhance their value.

Attention to detail

Attention to detail and focus are both essential for jobs in manufacturing. Manufacturing jobs often require you to operate heavy machinery, which requires precision and efficiency. Attention to detail helps you protect yourself and your coworkers.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking skills relate to your ability to analyze and solve problems. Working in manufacturing often involves thinking quickly to resolve issues. Critical thinking skills may help you troubleshoot issues and properly respond to unforeseen complications.

Read more: 10 Essential Critical Thinking Skills (and How To Improve Them)

Dependability

Dependability refers your ability to do your job well with little to no supervision. Manufacturing workplaces are often large, meaning supervisors desire accountable and reliable employees. It's also important to have a good work attendance record.

Flexibility

Flexibility relates to your ability to learn new skills, especially related to cross-training to add more value to the company. It also refers to your willingness to complete different tasks for the company. Flexibility may also relate to your ability to adapt to new technologies or procedures.

Lean manufacturing

Lean manufacturing relates to updates in manufacturing processes. These processes strive to eliminate waste. It's important to reduce or eliminate waste without sacrificing high standards.

Continuous improvement process

Continuous improvement process, or CIP or CI, relates to helping a company improve efficiency. CIP skills require you to identify opportunities to achieve greater efficiency. These skills focus on making incremental improvements to processes rather than overhauling processes with big changes.

Fabrication technology

Fabrication technology is an important manufacturing technical skill. This involves building metal structures. Fabrication technology may involve using stamping, welding, cutting, machining or other techniques.

Welding technologies

Welding technologies is an important technical skill for manufacturing jobs. This involves fusing materials. These skills are important for building new machines, repairing systems or similar tasks.

Communication skills

It's important to develop communication skills, especially verbal skills. Strong verbal skills may help you work well with others. These skills may also help you better share complex information.

Read more: 10 Communication Skills for Career Success

Machining

Machining is a technical manufacturing job skill. These processes include drilling, cutting, grinding, forming, abrading or shaping metal or other materials. It's important you can use machine tools such as power saws, presses or lathes to complete these tasks.

Product design

It's important for manufacturing professionals to be creative and innovative. Product design skills refer to the ability to transform an idea into a tangible product. It's also important for you to develop products that is manufacturable.

Corrective and preventative actions

Corrective and preventative actions, or CAPA, refer to quality control skills. Government agencies or other regulating bodies often oversee CAPA requirements. These skills help you identify ways to improve an organization processes by reducing or eliminating problems like machinery failures or customer complaints.

Problem solving

Problem-solving skills relate to your ability to examine problems and determine solutions. This may involve determining the cause of a problem and deciding how to resolve it. Working in manufacturing may require you to make decisions about complex, unexpected problems in stressful situations.

Read more: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples

Quality management systems

Quality management systems, or QMS, refer to technical skills that help you fix problems. This involves documenting processes and procedures and identifying opportunities for improvement. These improvements may help lower costs, improve efficiency, engage staff or improve and maintain high quality.

Good manufacturing practices

Good manufacturing practices, or GMP, refer to a technical ability to supervise quality. GMP standards help ensure a manufacturer creates products with consistency. They also ensure each product satisfies the highest quality standards.

How to improve manufacturing skills

Here are some ways to improve your manufacturing job trends:

1. Complete on-the-job training

On-the-job training can help you better develop your skills. It will help you gain a better understanding of your company's specific practices and procedures. This may also help you discover new ways to apply your skills.

2. Ask about cross-training opportunities

Ask your supervisors about cross-training opportunities to learn new skills and improve existing skills. Cross-training may help you become more flexible and adaptable in your job. Your additional training may also help you explore other career opportunities.

3. Enroll in training courses

Enroll in training courses to learn new skills or earn certifications. Some certifications may also require you to take follow-up courses to learn new information. These training courses may help keep you updated with the latest trends.

Manufacturing skills in the workplace

Here are some examples of when you may use manufacturing job skills in the workplace:

  • Working on an assembly line

  • Troubleshooting equipment

  • Analyzing data

  • Developing strategies to optimize efficiency

  • Designing and assembling new products

  • Repairing systems

  • Collaborating with other teams to resolve issues

How to highlight manufacturing skills

It's important for you to showcase a range of skills while applying for manufacturing jobs. Most hiring managers seek candidates with a combination of technical and soft skills. Here are some ways to display your skills during the job application process:

Manufacturing job skills for resume

Create a specific section on your resume for your skills. Order them logically for the hiring manager to follow, and consider including adjectives to emphasize your strengths. Include any skills you have that the job description mentions.

Manufacturing job skills for a cover letter

A cover letter provides you with the opportunity to show your personality and make an impression on the hiring manager. Highlight your expertise, training and skills. Include high-level details about your previous experiences that involved you using the position's required skills.

Manufacturing job skills for a job interview

Your interview allows you to provide in-depth examples of your previous experiences and skills. Provide examples that illustrate how you used them. This will help the hiring manager understand your abilities and what you can achieve with them.

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